Entertainment Theater

‘Dig’ Evaluate: At This Store, Nurturing Crops and Weary Souls

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Amid the thriving greenery of an indie plant store referred to as Dig, two dwelling organisms are solely tenuously clinging to survival.

One is a uncared for wreck of withering vegetation introduced in for emergency care. The opposite is a girl huddled within the nook, her hood as much as block out the world. She’s right here together with her father, Lou, who almost killed that plant. However as he bickers amusingly together with his previous buddy Roger, the kindly grump who owns the shop, she is just too bone-weary to have interaction.

Her identify is Megan, and one of many worst misfortunes has blanketed her in grief: the loss of life of her little boy in a infamous accident, which the entire nation is aware of was all her fault. Whole strangers despise her for it, but nobody is blaming Megan extra mercilessly than she is herself. After a suicide try, she resides together with her father within the Ohio city the place she grew up. To date, it isn’t going nice.

“I embarrass him,” she tells Roger after Lou steps out. Pre-empting any argument on the contrary, she provides: “The reality is the reality and if you happen to attempt to get round it, it is going to come after you and take you down.”

The reality and poisonously warped perceptions of it are main themes in Theresa Rebeck’s new play “Dig,” at 59E59 Theaters, and we’ll get to that. First let’s pause to run down the checklist of off-putting topics talked about to this point: loss of life of a kid, grief, suicide.

However this clever, compassionate, superbly acted dramedy — directed by the playwright for Main Phases — is just not a downer. Rebeck has spiked her script with comedy, and enlisted a solid as nimble with snicker strains as with prickliness and ache.

As Megan, Andrea Syglowski has a coiled, nearly feral rage that snaps its tight leash greater than as soon as. Simply watch her go after Molly (Mary Bacon), a chatty buyer who has been attempting to determine why Megan seems so acquainted. When the penny drops, Megan activates her with a scorching depth.

Alongside mourning and self-reproach, repentance is a motif in Megan’s life; she is ceaselessly apologizing. However humor can coexist with all that, and on this hope-filled, distinctly non-Pollyanna-ish play, she may be very humorous, too.

Swiftly feeling extra snug at Dig than in her father’s home — Roger (Jeffrey Bean), an absolute geek for vegetation, has a nurturing vibe — she finagles her method into an unpaid job there, and thrives a bit. (The set is by Christopher and Justin Swader.) Everett (Greg Keller), the stoner who’s the store’s solely different worker, sees her as a rival for Roger’s esteem. And Megan almost worships Roger, which Everett actually doesn’t get.

“No offense, however you’re like a larva,” she says. “You understand, you’re like one thing that’s not even a bug but. So I don’t truly anticipate you to grasp.”

One of many judgiest gossips on the town, Everett cloaks aggressive cruelty within the guise of honesty. However he has Keller’s charisma and comedian chops, so the viewers loves him. In an Act II scene between Megan and Everett, he’s confronted with a selection so morally appalling {that a} unhealthy choice may change every thing we’ve thought of him. I’ve by no means felt an viewers silently will a personality to do the appropriate factor the best way it did in that second.

Hypocrisy and sexist double requirements are basic to what Rebeck is considering in “Dig,” as feminist a play as any of her others. She is inspecting not simply parental guilt — Lou (Triney Sandoval) feels this, too, about Megan — but additionally deeply ingrained notions concerning the sanctity of motherhood specifically, and the censoriousness that failing at it brings.

Everett and the various others desperate to condemn Megan suppose they know the reality about her son’s loss of life. Even Lou holds her accountable, however he must hearken to himself.

“She was at all times a screw-up,” he tells Roger, “however by no means in 1,000,000 years would anybody have believed that she may do one thing so grotesque.”

Did she, although? Megan has taken the blame, heaped it on herself. She believes to her core that she deserves it.

She confessed to the police. And nobody dug any additional: It’s the mom’s fault.

Via Oct. 22 at 59E59 Theaters, Manhattan; 59e59.org. Working time: 2 hours.